ISLAMABAD: The death toll from heavy rain and snowfall in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province had surged to 18 since last week, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said on Monday.
In its outlook for January, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) said a “tendency for above normal precipitation” was predicted over most parts of the country, particularly Gilgit Baltistan, Kashmir, northern parts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces and southern and southwestern parts of Balochistan. A strong westerly wind had entered Pakistan’s westerly and upper parts last week, producing rain and snowfall.
“Eighteen people died in total in various incidents while 46 were injured,” the PDMA said in a statement on deaths in the province since January 3, adding that 109 houses were partially damaged. “Relief goods have been distributed among families of the affected. As per the chief minister’s directives, relevant departments of the province are on alert.”
Late weekend, 22 snow-tourists died during a snowstorm in Murree, 64 km (40 miles) northeast of the capital Islamabad. Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has formed a five-member committee to investigate the deaths, with critics of the government saying local authorities were ill-equipped to handle the annual influx of travelers and did not prepare to deal with any emergency amid the unusually heavy snowfall.